Ian's game to keep fit

Sometimes I get the opportunity to do voice work at endurance races around the country, I’m the overly enthusiastic guy who yells people across the finish line. For someone who’s not known as being particularly reserved or quiet, giving me a microphone can be a dangerous thing. For most athletes getting to a finish line on a challenging day can be an emotional moment and one that people want to celebrate, so it’s one place where my energy is welcomed.  

When you work at these events you quickly learn that there is a huge team of people behind the scenes who work hard to make these events run like clock work and over time you build lots of good relationships with the event crews. A couple of weeks ago I was doing the voice work at one of the most beautiful races in the world, Challenge Wanaka, and I bumped into one of these people, a guy called Ian Scott. Ian is the sales rep for Profile Design, a company that makes all types of gear to make your bike go faster. Ian has completed quite a few Ironman races and is a fit man, he now has a young family and a challenging job so doing a very time consuming sport like Ironman has been put on the back burner for now. 

When I was catching up with Ian I asked him the question, ‘are you keeping fit?’. He went on to tell me about a game he created for himself last year. He told me how he was getting frustrated with the number of emails he was getting and the amount of time he was spending in front of the computer and how his exercise was taking a hit because of this. One day he decided that he had to do five reps of either press ups or sit ups for every email he responded to. I can’t recall how long he set the challenge for but over a certain period of time he had done over 32,0000 reps of these exercises. He then set himself the goal of doing 1000 reps a week for all of 2015. He’ did add some different movements to this challenge so he could get more of a rounded, complete workout but his aim was to do 52,000 reps by the end of 2015. As Ian was telling me this it was pretty obvious that he was motivated and this was his way of getting back to a healthy place where he didn’t feel his work was coming at a cost to his health. 

What Ian did here was brilliant. He attached a healthy challenge to an everyday activity which normally wouldn’t be associated with exercise. He created a game that he could measure and set targets for, which ultimately satisfied his fitness needs. 

There are a lot of people who feel that they don’t have the time for exercise and if you look at their timetables you could see that adding time for external exercise, like going to the gym, would be hard to fit in. This is where creating games for yourself that get your body moving more throughout your day could be a good option. You may be inspired by Ian and you could set up some type of ‘exercise per email’ challenge or you may count the stairs at your office and aim to take so many steps throughout a week, month, or even a year. You could get others involved and create some type of workmate challenge where you all contribute to completing some type of movement goal based around a work task. 

We can start to look at our environments in a different way and think about different triggers that we can use to create games that get us moving. If we can create a motivational challenge which sets a spark off inside us we could be moving down a healthier path. In a time where more and more of us are moving less and less, which often leads to dissatisfaction around our body image, health and esteem, these games we create for ourselves can set you back on the path that you know is right for you.

Ian has certainly been creative and has found his mojo again at time in his life where time for himself is rare, it was inspiring to see. His challenge he set himself can help us think outside the square around exercise. 


This piece orginally appeared in The Press


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Bevan Eyles